Among my gardens is this place that is full of boxes of dirt (a.k.a. the vegetable garden). Last year I decided to make it into something pretty. To that end, I began the Vegetable Garden Beautification Project. (Note: I like to shorten the formal project name to “the VGBP” because Mr. O forgets what the letters stand for and it makes him crazy.)
Here, in a corner portion of the Project, is the great big wild bed full of native shrubs that will get too big. (It’s okay because I know they will get too big so it isn’t an ignorant gardener problem it is some other sort of problem which I will talk about later, like never.)
So you can see here in this next photo, with the fun-for-me clarifying arrows, that in the VGBP big bed we have both Red Currant (Ribes sanguineum) and Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) bushes, growing like mad. (I love Ninebark and it’s a piece of cake to start from cuttings, so I have planted it everywhere. I just counted and I have seven of them scattered around and when they all get big I will have to move away.)
Also in this VGBP bed around back, as clearly labeled in the photo, is a kind of fern elementary school, where ferns are taken when they are small, and they have recess every day and art on Fridays, and then when they are bigger I carry them around in the wheelbarrow (they love that) and find a new place for them somewhere.
And then I replace them with new baby ferns. The Plant Goddess gives the new ones to me, or I dig them out of the foundation of the greenhouse where I have an accidental fernery as mentioned on my Greenhouse page which you might have avoided reading so far but eventually we all have to face stuff.
THE BIG ORANGE POT
So there are ferns, and then there is an enormous pot I found at Goodwill for $9.99 so of course I bought it but also of course with no idea where it would end up.
THE SECOND BIG ORANGE POT
Okay I bought TWO identical big pots from Goodwill, but I’m going to save the second one for later because it’s outside the scope of this post–we have rules around here you know! I will however mention the astonishing fact that I can relocate these enormous pots, even when they are full of dirt, with the help of Mr.O’s handcart and with Max barking and nipping at the wheels the whole time– you should see it, very exciting, almost like a parade.
Also last year I did have quite a successful VGBP teepee, except the Black-eyed Susan vines that were supposed to climb up didn’t (acrophobia I think) but then the calendula plants got a lot taller than I expected so it was okay. (Yes the teepee thing began last year.)
And when I discontinued the rose garden (just like a sitcom) I did save some of the old roses and now they are a Rose Feature along the edge of the VGBP.
Here’s about half the garden today. You can see the lettuces in their netted community, and the semi-famous bed-spring cucumber trellis with English cucumbers already grabbing on. There are about four tiny sunflower plants sort of center back but you can’t actually see them in this picture (just as well), and you can’t see the rust growing on the garlic very well either. (I did NOT let in cattle to eat the rust– I used a homemade baking soda and water treatment instead. I maybe should have gone for the cows, there isn’t a lot of improvement.)
I went to France in July once, and there were fields of sunflowers, farms of them. It was like a fairy tale. Since then I have tried over and over to grow sunflowers in my gardens. They tend to be bug-eaten and short, or bug-eaten and tall and elongated and skinny and falling over.
I do observe sunflowers in odd places out in the world, growing in thick masses on roadsides or out of compost piles. I saw one blooming in the middle of a gravel road once…
Here’s Max making the sunflower look good last summer. In reality it was ONE bloom on a weak stem that wanted to fall over from the beginning. But the flowers are fun like bubbly champagne or a beach party. So I started some more this year for the VGBP, and now they are out there with the vegetables.
Don’t trust peas. Even as you read this they are perpetrating an unprovoked attack on my best sunflower plant. (I captured a shot of it for you, just like an embedded war correspondent.) Don’t repeat this, but: I think the vegetables hate the VGBP.